Former Mayor Dies At Age 93

Dr. James E. Barnett, 93, a former two term Mayor of Travelers Rest, passed away Thursday February 21, 2019 at his home in Marietta.

Barnett began his long time medical practice in Travelers Rest on August 4, 1955 when Dr. Landrum McCarrell and Dr. John Holliday announced his association with them in the practice of general medicine in Travelers Rest.

Ten years after starting his medical practice Dr. Barnett was among a group of citizens that had campaigned for Travelers Rest's incorporation. He was among a group of health care workers that were instrumental in the establishment of the town's much needed sewer and public water systems. Prior to those achievements, the town's poorer residents shared water wells that often became contaminated. "There was one year in the mid-1960's that we had to take 23 people to the hospital because the water was making them sick," Barnett once recalled. "It took three referendums to get it done but, we got the sewer system done."

Dr. Barnett was also a member of a group that worked to get a branch of the Greenville Hospital System in Travelers Rest. Two other pet projects, a library and a YMCA didn't become realities until his political career was over after serving two terms as mayor.

Dr. Barnett served on the governing board of the Western Carolina Regional Sewer Authority. He stayed on the board for 19 years, the last five as the board's chairman.

Last year Dr. Barnett was honored by the Marietta community when the Geer Highway, Pumpkintown Road interchange was named the James E. Barnett interchange.

Funeral services will be held Monday at 3 pm at Travelers Rest United Methodist Church. The family will receive friends at the church from 1:30 to 2:45 pm prior to the service.